Melis Acuner has more than 15 years of experience advising clients in high-profile cross-border disputes, criminal and civil investigations, and regulatory matters.


Ms. Acuner specialises in arbitration and litigation, with a focus on complex multijurisdictional disputes involving multiple parallel proceedings.

In 2016 and 2017, Ms. Acuner was named a Future Leader in arbitration by Who’s Who Legal, which quotes sources who state she “gets things done and always delivers” and “is able to withstand very considerable pressure while maintaining composure and good humour, and can tell it like it is while retaining the clients’ trust and confidence.” Ms. Acuner is a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR of the International Chamber of Commerce, and has acted in numerous international commercial arbitrations conducted in English and/or French under the auspices of leading international arbitral institutions. She is a native speaker of English, French and Turkish and also speaks Spanish fluently.

Ms. Acuner also has experience defending government inquiries and conducting internal investigations related to anti-corruption, money laundering and fraud. Ms. Acuner has conducted reviews of corporate compliance provisions and structures, and advised on the improvement of these structures and related policies and procedures designed to prevent and detect potential violations of law. She has acted for corporations, individuals and governments across a range of industry sectors, including oil and gas, energy, telecommunications, consumer goods, media, construction, banking and finance, insurance, and pharmaceuticals.

Her recent cross-border disputes work includes representing, among others :

  • a Middle Eastern oil and gas company in multibillion dollar LCIA arbitrations;
  • United Capital Partners Group on parallel arbitration and multijurisdictional litigation proceedings relating to interests in VKontakte, Russia’s largest social online networking service. The matter was settled in September 2014 following the US$1.47 billion sale of a stake in VK.Com Limited to Mail.Ru Group Limited;
  • an Eastern European company in connection with a dispute in excess of €1 billion arising out of its shareholding in a telecoms company in the Middle East;
  • an international investment bank in connection with the subprime crisis involving high-value multijurisdictional proceedings in the U.S. and U.K.;
  • a European investment bank in relation to claims for portfolio losses arising out of an investment management agreement with a Cyprus entity;
  • an Eastern European company in connection with a multibillion dispute under the Energy Charter Treaty;
  • an international hedge fund in connection with a dispute arising out of an investment management agreement subject to LCIA arbitration with a seat in London;
  • a Spanish and Dutch company faced with the nationalization of its Venezuelan subsidiary subject to arbitration under the ICSID rules; and
  • a telecommunications company in connection with a dispute subject to ICC arbitration with the seat in Geneva.

Ms. Acuner’s other professional activities include being a member of the firm’s London Pro Bono Committee and co-head of its Public International Law Pro Bono Group. In this role she advises international organizations and non-governmental organizations in relation to questions of international law and human rights. Ms. Acuner is also a board member of the Turkish British Lawyers Association and regularly speaks and writes on international arbitration and investment treaty law.

Prior to joining Skadden, Ms. Acuner practiced international arbitration in the Paris office of another leading international firm where she focused on international commercial arbitration and questions of public international law.



  • D.E.A. (postgraduate diploma) in Public International Law, Pantheon-Assas, Paris II, 2002
  • Masters in Business and European Law, Robert Schuman University and London School of Economics, 2001


  • Solicitor, England and Wales
  • Paris Bar


  • The International Bar Association


  • English
  • French
  • Turkish
  • Spanish

Melis Acuner

European Counsel, International Litigation and Arbitration; Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime